Rayshard Brooks’ family and attorneys gathered for a news conference on Wednesday (June 17) to share their thoughts on the charges brought against the Atlanta police officer who killed him after he fell asleep in a Wendy’s drive thru on June 12.
“I just want to say thank you and I just hope that everything will fall out how it needs to fall out. The officers are charged. I’m really hurt, Father’s Day coming up and all I can do is think about, what if my husband was still here?” said Brooks’ wife Tomika Miller.
When asked how she felt about Brooks’ last moments, Miller said, “That was very hard. I didn’t imagine being there because I don’t know what I would have done if I would have seen it for myself. But I felt everything that he felt just by hearing what he went through. And it hurt, it hurt really bad.”
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney for Brooks’ family, reacted to the charges against the officers. Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed Brooks, faces 11 charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage to property, and violation of oath by a public officer.
The second officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, faces three charges, including aggravated assault for standing or stepping on Mr. Brooks' shoulder after he was shot, Fulton County DA says.
“This isn’t a celebration or a victory lap of watching these officers get charged. Nobody’s celebrating because this never should’ve happened,” Stewart said. “How we feel about the charges, we shouldn’t have to celebrate, as African Americans, when we get a piece of justice like today. We shouldn’t have to celebrate and parade when an officer is held accountable for actions that we saw and actions that we didn’t know about until today.”
He continued, “It’s more of a disappointment that this is the state of policing in this country, this is where we’re at. But I saw a lot of hope today. As the DA said, this is the first time another officer has decided to be a government witness and testify against another officer, that’s what policing is. That’s the kind of officers that makes these streets safe, that stop instances like this from happening. When you’re willing to step up and say ‘that was wrong, even if that’s going to risk my career, even if people won’t like me and other officers will be angry.’”
After admonishing lawmakers for politicizing police reform, Stewart made it a point to thank the public for demanding justice on behalf of Brooks. “We thank the people for the outpouring of support, keeping his name alive positively and maybe one day this country will get it right with policing,” he said.
Watch a clip of the press conference, below: